New Scotland landfill solar project stalled

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

A capped landfill on New Scotland’s Upper Flatrock Road was due for a solar array, a project that would have generated monthly rent payments for the town, but the development has stalled because of project costs. 

NEW SCOTLAND — As local municipalities look for ways to plug holes in their budgets due to COVID-related revenue shortfalls, a potential income-generator for the town of New Scotland has been hampered by its own money woes. 

In April 2019, the town entered into a land-lease agreement with Solomon Energy of Westport, Connecticut, that allowed the company to develop solar arrays on the town’s two landfills, both on Upper Flatrock Road. 

The agreement placed all of the development responsibility — researching the local market and preparing reports for the town, defining the project’s scope, soliciting requests for proposals, administering the submittal process, awarding and managing the winning bid, and finding customers to purchase the power that would be produced by the solar-energy system — on the company, but left the town with the ultimate say on the project’s fate.

Solomon put the project out to bid in August 2019, and Distributed Solar Projects, LLC — which is owned by General Electric and investment behemoth BlackRock — was ultimately chosen to develop the sites. 

But Distributed Solar Projects has decided not to proceed with the project, town attorney Michael Naughton told the New Scotland Town Board at its July meeting, held remotely. Councilman William Hennessy said that Solomon Energy had been informed by National Grid that “upgrades of significant amounts” would be required for the project to happen. 

“I think it’s fair to at least address the fact that there appear to be some hurdles in requirement for system upgrades,” Hennessy said. “Something that we were leery of at the beginning, because of our knowledge of other types of projects that could have existed … .”

Supervisor Douglas LaGrange told The Enterprise this week that the town would “continue to look for opportunities to do something” with the two landfills because “it would be a good revenue [source] for the town and the taxpayers.”

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